These Books are Overdue (Part 1)

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that Tuesdays are Teaser Tuesdays. You might also know that I’m slightly behind in my reading schedule, but there’s something else I’m behind in doing: writing book reviews. Though the excerpt for my Teaser Tuesday posts reads “Browse My Bookshelf & Read Short Reviews”, I don’t recall actually writing a review since January. What better way to spend my last days of summer break than catching up?

Goodreads to the rescue!

2017 Book Reviews 1-10

The Folklore of Discworld: Legends, Myths, and Customs from the Discworld with Helpful Hints from Planet Earth by Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson

Sir Terry once said that a magician entertains you twice: once with the trick and once with the revealing of the trick. In terms of Discworld, this is the revealing of the trick.

No mere list of allusions, this is similar to a bestiary – though it also contains people, places, and ideas – in that subjects are introduced and then briefly related to our own world (the Roundworld, as the case might be). Given the breadth and depth of Pratchett’s work, this is by no means exhaustive, yet it does tackle the main allusions found in the Discworld series.

As such, I would recommend this book to anyone that has read more than a few Discworld novels, or if you’ve only read one or two, I would only look up those subjects you have questions about.

As River Song tells The Doctor: “Spoilers, Sweetie”

The Strain The Fall by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

These are the first two novels in The Strain trilogy, and I just now realize I’ve never read the third and final book. Time to place a hold at the library!

These are decent vampire novels that overall avoid vampire tropes while falling victim to several storytelling ones. Sometimes the writing and dialogue is a bit stilted, but in this case the TV show helps out the novels as I like the books better imagining the characters as they appear on screen.

Serafina and the Black Cloak Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

We picked up these signed copies in Asheville, NC in the “Local Author” corner of the Visitor Center. They are well written preteen novels with a strong female lead. Mix in southern superstition and stir well for a quick yet satisfying read.

The Ugly Game: The Corruption of FIFA and the Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup by Heidi Blake & Jonathan Calvert

This book, written by the investigative team which broke the story, tells of the underhanded dealings that secured Qatar the 2022 World Cup. You don’t have to be a soccer fan to appreciate/loathe/abhor the scandals involved. The book reads like a tabloid, but the stories are true.

The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion by N.T. Wright

Wright has a way of making complex theological ideas easier to understand. However, I find that over the last decade or so he seems to have slipped from accepted orthodoxy. I wouldn’t go so far as a recent reader to say he’s outright heretical, but Wright no longer uses terms such as “gospel” and “salvation” the same way most Christian churchgoers would use them.

That said, Wright makes some excellent points in providing context for several of Paul’s letters and teachings.

Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C. S. Lewis by Chris R. Armstrong

This book aims to get Christians thinking about their medieval roots (what Enlightenment “thinkers” derisively called the “Dark Ages”) by examining the impact medieval Christianity had on the popular writer and apologist C.S. Lewis.

Sorry, that’s more of a synopsis that a review.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This is only the second book I’ve ever pre-ordered. These retellings of classic Norse myths are not meant to be read silently, but to be read aloud on a dark night by the fire.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

I’ve read John Scalzi’s blog for several years, but this is the first of his books that I’ve read. I picked it up in preparation for a book signing of his new novel (and new series starter) The Collapsing Empire.

The book sends up Star Trek in a most glorious manner.


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